The number of online financial scams in South Korea surpassed 30,000 in the first 10 months of last year, as scamming methods become increasingly diversified and sophisticated, the police said Friday.
Four online financial scams such as SMishing, pharming, instant messenger phishing and memory hacking reached 32,060 cases in the January-October period of last year, the police said.
Among the above-cited online financial fraud methods, SMishing caused the most damage to financial consumers, reaching 28,469 cases to incur 5.45 billion won (US$5.1 million) in losses.
SMishing is a portmanteau of short message services (SMS) and phishing, which uses text messages to lure people to access bogus websites with malignant codes and dupe them into revealing their bank or credit card information.
According to the tally compiled by AhnLab Inc., South Korea's leading anti-virus software firm, the number of SMishing-causing malignant codes grew about 180-fold to 5,206 last year compared with 29 in 2012.
Pharming was the second-most damaging method, causing losses worth 14.84 billion won in 2,883 cases, followed by memory hacking with 2.57 billion won in losses in 426 cases and instant messenger phishing with 460 million won in 282 cases.
Online financial scams appear to be reaching businesses as well, with criptolocker, a kind of "ransomware," discovered in about 20 personal computers at eight financial companies this month.
Ransomware refers to a class of malware that restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be lifted. (Yonhap)